“Treasury had tribes certify the number of enrolled members, the tribal citizens, and it turns out they didn’t use that number at all,” said Miriam R. Jorgensen, a co-author of the report. “The numbers that were used for distributing those monies … were probably not the best numbers to be using.” That led to some tribes getting more than their population would indicate, including the Hopi and White Mountain Apache in Arizona, which ended up with $56 million and $16 million more, respectively, than they were due, the report said. But others look to have been underfunded, including Arizona’s Tohono O’odham, Pascua Yaqui and the Navajo – one of the nation’s largest tribes, which is suffering some of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection in the nation. The report estimates that the Navajo got $32 million less than they would have based on enrollment numbers from the tribe. The Tohono O’odham were underfunded by $27 million and the Pascua Yaqui by $12 million, the brief said.
"Arbitrary and capricious": As tribes continue to fight for the $8 billion #CoronavirusReliefFund they were promised more than seven weeks ago, new research is casting doubt on the accuracy and fairness of the Trump administration's #COVID19 payments. https://t.co/L08XPko6B6— indianz.com (@indianz) May 18, 2020
The report noted that the Treasury is “seeking guidance on the appropriate formula” for later rounds of tribal funding, which Jorgensen said could give tribal leaders a chance to speak to federal officials about the problems with the first-round allocations. In the meantime, Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer said all that tribal officials can do is continue working to fight the disease – and remain optimistic. “We are in this together, and together we will overcome,” he said in the Tuesday statement from the tribe. “Don’t lose hope and please keep praying and keep fighting this virus by staying home as much as possible and practicing social distancing. We can’t let up now.” For more stories from Cronkite News, visit cronkitenews.azpbs.org.
"The curve is flattening": The number of #COVID19 positive cases has reached 4,794 on the Navajo Nation. Nearly 1,500 have recovered from the #Coronavirus on the largest reservation in the United States. @NNPrezNez @NNVP_Lizer #Arizona #NewMexico #Utah https://t.co/Zozvz3tofi pic.twitter.com/LdFM6yIjkx— indianz.com (@indianz) May 26, 2020
Note: This story originally appeared on Cronkite News and is published via a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.